Knowing God

Haftarah Reading: Bamidbar (Hosea 2:1-22)
Gospel Reading: John 17:1-19
Commentary by: Matthew Day

To know God and His son, Yeshua, is eternal life. That is what John 17:3 says. The wording is not simply one of means to eternal life (as if eternal life is the ultimate goal and knowing God is just the method). It's definition. Eternal life consists of knowing God. And our Haftarah this week gives us a glimpse into who that God is:

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. (Hos. 2:19-20 ESV)

Righteousness: God is not like the pagan deities who are driven by passions, warring amongst each other with no regard for innocent bystanders. He is upright. He acts according to a standard and that standard is life. It is a holiness which stands between His people and the sin that threatens to destroy them. So, our Messiah fulfilled all righteousness obeying even unto death for the sake of His people.

Justice: God is not impressed by wealth or strength or influence. On the contrary, His eye is on the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden. To them He promises justice, that is, to make things right. To restore to them what has been taken by oppression. To restore to them life. In injustice, we hung an innocent man. To bring justice, that man gave up His life and became our Redeemer. 

Steadfast love: We speak of love today as a fleeting emotion, but with God love is steadfast. It is enduring, filling us with peace, with comfort, with joy to eternity. It is His will to see us prosper. It is His will that we might live. Thus, it was in love that God sent His son into the world that we not only live, but live abundantly and eternally.

Mercy: "God does not delight in the death of the wicked." So says the prophet Ezekiel. Our Father in heaven seeks our repentance that we might leave the path leading unto death and turn back unto Him for life. Our God washes away our sins, cleansing our filthy garments in His own blood.

Faithfulness: Every promise, He will fulfill. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. For He has betrothed us to Himself. In righteousness, to cleanse us from every blemish and every disease. In justice, restoring to us the inheritance that we lost (indeed, that we sold for a meal). In steadfast love, bringing us to Himself to be our God and make us His people. In mercy, looking not upon our past sins but upon the new creation that He is transforming us into. In all of this God is faithful. Forever. This is eternal life.